Embattled NBA superstar Ja Morant's shoe deal with Nike will likely remain intact, despite the league's decision to suspend him for the first 25 games of the 2023-24 season.
In a statement obtained by ESPN, the sports apparel and shoe conglomerate said it “will continue to support” the 23-year-old Morant.
“We are pleased that Ja is taking accountability and prioritizing his well-being. We will continue to support him on and off the court,” ESPN's Ramona Shelburne wrote in a tweet Friday.
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Morant's latest suspension stems from a social media video that was posted May 13. In the video, Morant briefly appears to brandish a gun.
NBA COMMISSIONER ADAM SILVER WAS ‘INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTED' AFTER SECOND JA MORANT GUN INCIDENT
The terms of the suspension stipulate that the two-time NBA All-Star will “be required to meet certain conditions before he returns to play and will be ineligible to participate in any public league or team activities, including preseason games, during the course of his suspension.”
Morant issued a statement Friday, apologizing for his actions.
“I've had time to reflect, and I realize how much hurt I've caused,” Morant said in a statement issued Friday. “I want to apologize to the NBA, the Grizzlies, my teammates and the city of Memphis. To Adam Silver, Zach Kleiman and Robert Pera — who gave me the opportunity to be a professional athlete and have supported me — I'm sorry for the harm I've done.
“To the kids who look up to me, I'm sorry for failing you as a role model. I promise I'm going to be better. To all of my sponsors, I'm going to be a better representation of our brands. And to all of my fans, I'm going to make it up to you, I promise.
“I'm spending the offseason and my suspension continuing to work on my own mental health and decision-making. I'm also going to be training so that I'm ready to go when I can be back on the court. I know my teammates are going to hold it down, and I'm so sorry I won't be out there with you at the beginning of the season. I hope you'll give me the chance to prove to you over time I'm a better man than what I've been showing you.”
Morant was previously suspended for eight games for “conduct detrimental to the league” after he was seen in an Instagram Live video holding a handgun inside a Denver-area nightclub.
“We appreciate Ja's accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support his prioritization of his well-being,” Nike said in a statement following the incident in March.
Shortly after Morant's second gun-related video, Nike removed Morant's signature “Hunger” sneakers from its website. The company later made the shoes available for purchase.
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Morant signed a five-year deal with Nike in 2019. A few weeks after signing the contract, Morant was the No. 2 overall draft pick.
Nike's initial release of the “Ja 1 Hunger” shoes sold out just minutes after they became available May 25.